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Why the FDA Is Banning This Cleaning Ingredient

Why the FDA Is Banning This Cleaning Ingredient

Many cleaning products use triclosan for its antibacterial properties. But science says it can do more harm than good.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of triclosan—an antibacterial ingredient found in household cleaning products—labeling it non-GRAS (not generally regarded as safe).

Although the FDA first proposed its ban in 2015, it won’t be effective until December 2018, which means that you may still find triclosan in consumer and hospital products. For a long time, products incorporated triclosan for its antimicrobial properties, but scientists later discovered that it causes harm to the liver, thyroid and lungs. It also disrupts hormones and promotes antibiotic resistance.

For a complete list of consumer products that contain triclosan, visit the Environmental Working Group. The good news is that triclosan is in a lot fewer products than it used to be.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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